Up to a few years ago, had I been in the life situation I currently am in and I participated in the activity that I am about to admit, it would have been admitted shamefully.. possibly even denied. Me being the wild and crrrrrraaaazy guy that I am in a boldly electronic age, there is no shame to admitting it at all.
You guessed it already, I am sure.
Yes, I created an online dating profile. Everyone does it these days, so the stigma no longer exists. As a matter of fact, most people expect it. Is it something that someone should do right after a divorce, while the ink on the decree is still damp? IMO, it depends on the person and their motivation for dating. So far, my experience is that many women wait years before they are ready to date, although that is not entirely the case. Men don’t wait so long, often they don’t wait until the are divorced or even until they have filed for divorce. On either side of the gender line, there are a host of people with improper motives. There are just as many who are looking for companionship, with genuine good intent.
I would like to think that I fit into the genuine good intent category. Early into separation, I discovered that no matter how used to being alone I thought I had become during the final years of my marriage, being alone on a weekend absolutely sucked. Being alone sucked to the point of being depressing on a Friday and/or Saturday night, no matter what I did to try to fill the void. I found that I dreaded the weekend.
Don’t worry. It gets better. Despite the sucky nature of being alone, it was good for me. It gave me a chance to truly reach out to God that only desperation can do to a person, the rawness of my soul exposed possibly for the first time in many years. The ugliness of my marriage had been an obstacle that had kept me from approaching God. I needed healing and found it in those months following the marriage separation and divorce filing. Maybe for the first time in a long, long time I felt good about myself, good enough to talk to God again, and I was able to work through those early lonely times.
I have to be honest — I didn’t wait until my divorce was final to create the online dating profile. Yes, spiritually I was experiencing renewal, but I am a man and God created woman to bring companionship to man. More than ever, if I was going to make it through the weekend without going completely bonkers, I needed to feel needed by someone soft and pretty.
Creating an online profile is definitely a humbling experience. This man is 56 years old. Suddenly, I was faced with the reality that I am not as pretty as I think I once was. No longer do I have that full head of mullet. There might be just a tad bit of gut occupying my mid section. In order to create an online profile, there needs to be pictures of me.
There needs to be recent pictures — although I soon discovered that is not the rule for more women than I care to admit. Please, girls, I need to see what you look like now, not what you looked like when you were 20 or 30 or even 40. A man my age, if he is in his right mind, does not need a woman who is younger than he is or who is trying to look like she is 20. I also do not want to see a selfie (or numerous selfies) taken from above, exposing your wrinkled cleavage. Show yourself as you are, without trying to find your best side or to show a feature(s) that are potentially temporarily attractive. While I like that you keep yourself in good shape, I do not need to see you jerk lifting the equivalent of a small VW. It’s nice to see that you are handy, but your main profile picture does not need to feature you with your favorite hammer. Harleys are great, but you aren’t going to like my version of a Harley.
What I soon discovered as I perused profiles of potential companionship is that genuine is rare in the world of online dating. We all want to put our best side forward, a best side that we discovered as soon as we tried to create an online dating profile apparently no longer exists. When I tried to find pictures of myself for my profile, I realized that not only do I have very few pictures of myself, the ones that I have are not my best side. Suddenly I was faced with the dilemma, the paradox of putting out my best side while being genuine. Being genuine is important to me.
So I took a few pictures of myself. Here is the picture I took with my PC that made it as my profile picture. It’s vague, but I liked it.
The picture was taken on the deck of my condo, with my favorite Cardinals jersey. I still had the weight off from the months of slaving to get my house ready to sell, then making my condo inhabitable. To me, it felt genuine and was a good representation of who I am, while showing my allegiance to my favorite baseball team. While it is a pretty decent picture of me, it wasn’t showing a fictional representation of myself. It is a picture of me, recent and relaxed, which is what I wanted to show.
Has online dating been a good experience for me? There are plenty of people who write about their online dating experiences, most give a humorous yet negative perspective. I have to admit that it was a learning experience for me. Since I originally posted a profile before I divorced, I had to face some negative feedback at first, especially since I was honest about my status. The creeps ruined it for us honest guys. I also learned to sift through the responses, many with definitely unpure motives. I kissed (without kissing) a few toads.
As my December 11 blog post alludes, I found someone who is not a toad. My Saturdays are no longer dreaded. As it turns out, the person that I found a connection with is genuine, real, without cleavage or Harley or weightlifting pictures. Saturday has become the day when I experience affection that I have not experienced for decades. Is this woman perfect? Probably not, although she is very pretty and a person who fits my values in many ways. She really can’t give me anything but a Saturday night, which is good for me right now, just enough to take the edge off of the loneliness. Since December, I have experienced a bit of pampering that I could only dream about previously up to November 15. Is this going to be permanent? Maybe not, maybe so. All I know is this.
Online dating has been OK for me.